The Scottish Government has received backing for its proposals to introduce a network of low emission zones in the country.
Results of a consultation into the proposals were published today (13 March) – revealing that up to 95% of the 967 individuals and organisations to have taken part in the consultation backed the move.
The Scottish Government has outlined plans to have four low emission zones in place to address air quality in the country by 2020, with the first to be established in Glasgow by the end of 2018.
Initial plans have already been drawn up by Glasgow city council for how the city’s LEZ could function, with a focus on lowering emissions from buses and subsequent phases then targeting trucks, vans, cars and motorbikes. More detailed proposals are expected to be outlined shortly.
Alongside Glasgow, LEZs are also expected to be established in Edinburgh, Aberdeen and Dundee.
As part of the consultation, the Scottish Government also asked for views on the potential minimum standards for LEZs – requiring a minimum standard of Euro 6 for diesel cars, Euro 4 for petrol cars and Euro VI for buses – a proposal which was backed by around 62% of respondents.
Some three quarters of respondents agreed that emission sources from construction machinery and/or large or small refrigerated units should be included within the scope of LEZs.
Commenting on the responses, Humza Yousaf, Scotland’s Minister for Transport, said: “This is another important step in delivering our vision for Scotland’s air quality to be the best in Europe. This consultation has given the public, businesses and transport operators the platform to share their views on important issues relating to the scope and lead-in times for LEZs.
“These zones will improve air quality, tackle congestion and help improve our urban environments, however, it is critical that this is done in a consistent manner and in partnership with local authorities, industry and regional transport partnerships. To that end, I am delighted that this important consultation received close to one thousand responses from a variety of sectors, with 95.5% of respondents supporting the principle of LEZs to help improve air quality in Scotland.â€?
Claire Shanks of the British Lung Foundation Scotland, added: “Low Emission Zones are an important part of the solution to improving air quality, because LEZs which target the most polluting vehicles have been proven to significantly reduce air pollution.
“Toxic air is bad for everyone’s health, but it’s especially dangerous for people living with lung disease and for children whose growing lungs can be permanently damaged by it. That’s why Scotland’s new LEZs need to be ambitious and target the most polluting vehicles – our health depends on it.â€?